Nadis are the astral tubes made up of astral matter that carry psychic currents. The Sanskrit term ‘Nadi’ comes from the root ‘Nad’ which means ‘motion’. It is through these Nadis (Sukshma, subtle passages), that the vital force or Pranic current moves or flows. Since they are made up of subtle matter they cannot be seen by the naked physical eyes and you cannot make any test-tube experiments in the physical plane. These Yoga Nadis are not the ordinary nerves, arteries and veins that are known to the Vaidya Shastra (Anatomy and Physiology). Yoga Nadis are quite different from these.
The body is filled with innumerable Nadis that cannot be counted. Different authors state the number of Nadis in different ways, i.e., from 72,000 to 3,50,000. When you turn your attention to the internal structure of the body, you are struck with awe and wonder. Because the architect is the Divine Lord Himself who is assisted by skilled engineers and masons—Maya, Prakriti, Visva Karma, etc.
Nadis play a vital part in this Yoga. Kundalini when awakened, will pass through Sushumna Nadi and this is possible only when the Nadis are pure. Therefore, the first step in Kundalini Yoga is the purification of Nadis. A detailed knowledge of the Nadis and Chakras, is absolutely essential. Their location, functions, nature, etc., should be thoroughly studied.
The subtle lines, Yoga Nadis, have influence in the physical body. All the subtle (Sukshma) Prana, Nadis and Chakras have gross manifestation and operation in the physical body. The gross nerves and plexuses have close relationship with the subtle ones. You should understand this point well. Since the physical centres have close relationship with the astral centres, the vibrations that are produced in the physical centres by prescribed methods, have the desired effects in the astral centres.
Whenever there is an interlacing of several nerves, arteries and veins, that centre is called "Plexus." The physical material plexuses that are known to the Vaidya Shastra are:— Pampiniform, Cervical, Brachial, Coccygeal, Lumbar, Sacral, Cardiac, Esophageal, Hepatic Pharyngeal, Pulmonary, Ligual Prostatic Plexus, etc. Similarly there are plexuses or centres of vital forces in the Sukshma Nadis. They are known as ‘Padma’ (lotus) or Chakras. Detailed instructions on all these centres are given elsewhere.
All the Nadis spring from the Kanda. It is in the junction where the Sushumna Nadi is connected with the Muladhara Chakra. Some say, that this Kanda is 12 inches above the anus. Out of the innumerable Nadis 14 are said to be important. They are:
Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the most important of the above 14 Nadis, and Sushumna is the chief. It is the highest and most sought by the Yogins. Other Nadis are subordinate to this.
Between each pair of vertebrae of spinal column, there are apertures through which the spinal nerves pass from the spinal cord to the different portions and organs of the body. The five regions of the spine correspond with the regions of the five Chakras: Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata and Vishuddha. Sushumna Nadi passes through the hollow cylindrical cavity of the vertebral column and Ida is on the left side and Pingala on the right side of the spine.
If we study the construction, location and function of the Spinal Cord and the Sushumna Nadi, we can readily say that the Spinal Cord was called Sushumna Nadi by the Yogins of yore. The Western Anatomy deals with the gross form and functions of the Spinal Cord, while the Yogins of ancient times dealt with all about the subtle (Sukshma) nature. Now in Kundalini Yoga, you should have a thorough knowledge of this Nadi.
Sushumna extends from the Muladhara Chakra (second vertebra of coccygeal region) to Brahmarandhra. The Western Anatomy admits that there is a central canal in the Spinal Cord, called Canalis Centralis and that the cord is made up of grey and white brain-matter. Spinal Cord is dropped or suspended in the hollow of the spinal column. In the same way, Sushumna is dropped within the spinal canal and has subtle sections. It is of red colour like Agni (fire).
Within this Sushumna there is a Nadi by name Vajra which is lustrous as Surya (sun) with Rajasic qualities. Again within this Vajra Nadi, there is another Nadi, called Chitra. It is of Sattvic nature and of pale colour. The qualities of Agni, Surya and Chandra (fire, sun and moon) are the three aspects of Sabda Brahman. Here within this Chitra, there is a very fine minute canal (which is known as Canalis Centralis). This canal is known as Brahmanadi through which Kundalini, when awakened, passes from Muladhara to Sahasrara Chakra. In this centre exist all the six Chakras (lotuses, viz., Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha and Ajna).
The lower extremity of the Chitra Nadi is called Brahmadvara, the door of Brahman, as Kundalini has to pass through this door to Brahmarandhra. This corresponds to Haridwar which is the gate of Hari of Badrinarayan in the macrocosm (physical plane). The Chitra terminates in the Cerebellum.
In a general sense the Sushumna Nadi itself (gross Spinal Cord) is called Brahma Nadi because, Brahma Nadi is within the Sushumna. Again the canal within the Chitra is also called Sushumna, because the canal is within the Sushumna. Ida and Pingala Nadis are on the left and right sides of the spine.
Chitra is the highest and most beloved of the Yogins. It is like a thin thread of lotus. Brilliant with five colours, it is in the centre of Sushumna. It is the most vital part of the body. This is called the Heavenly way. It is the giver of Immortality. By contemplating on the Chakras that exist in this Nadi, the Yogi destroys all sins and attains the Highest Bliss. It is the giver of Moksha.
When the breath flows through Sushumna, the mind becomes steady. This steadiness of the mind is termed "Unmani Avastha", the highest state of Yoga. If you sit for meditation when Sushumna is operating, you will have wonderful meditation. When the Nadis are full of impurities, the breath cannot pass into the middle Nadi. So one should practise Pranayama for the purification of Nadis.
Ida And Pingala Nadis
Ida and Pingala Nadis are not the gross sympathetic chains. These are the subtle Nadis that carry the Sukshma Prana. In the physical body these tentatively correspond to the right and left sympathetic chains.
Ida starts from the right testicle and Pingala from the left testicle. They meet with Sushumna Nadi at the Muladhara Chakra and make a knot there. This junction of three Nadis at the Muladhara Chakra is known as Mukta Triveni. Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati dwell in Pingala, Ida and Sushumna Nadis respectively. This meeting place is called Brahma Granthi. Again these meet at the Anahata and Ajna Chakra. In the macrocosm also you have a Triveni at Prayag where the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati meet.
Ida flows through the left nostril and Pingala through the right nostril. Ida is also called Chandra Nadi (moon) and Pingala as Surya Nadi (sun). Ida is cooling and Pingala is heating. Pingala digests the food. Ida is of pale, Sakti Rupa. It is the great nourisher of the world. Pingala is of fiery red, Rudra Rupa. Ida and Pingala indicate Kala (time) and Sushumna swallows time. The Yogi knows the time of his death; takes his Prana into Sushumna; keeps it in Brahmarandra, and defies time (Kala—death). The famous Yogi Sri Chang Dev of Maharashtra fought against death several times by taking the Prana into Sushumna. He was a contemporary of Sri Jnanadev of Alandi, near Poona. It was he who had Bhuta Siddhi, control over wild animals, through his Yogic practices. He came on the back of a tiger to see Sri Jnanadev.
Gandhari, Hastajihva, Kuhu, Sarasvati, Pusha, Sankhini, Payasvini, Varuni, Alambusha, Vishvodhara, Yasasvini, etc., are some other important Nadis. These have their origin in Kanda. All these Nadis are placed on the sides of Sushumna, Ida and Pingala, and proceed to different parts of the body to perform certain special functions. These are all subtle Nadis. Innumerable minor Nadis spring from these. As the leaf of the Asvattha tree is covered with minute fibres so also, this body is permeated with thousands of Nadis.
How To Change The Flow In Nadis
The following exercises are for changing the flow from Ida to Pingala. Select any one of the methods that suits you best. For changing the flow from Pingala to Ida, just do the same exercise on the opposite side:
1. Plug the left nostril with a small piece of cotton or fine cloth for a few minutes.
2. Lie down on the left side for ten minutes.
3. Sit erect. Draw the left knee up and keep the left heel near the left buttock. Now press the left arm-pit, Axilla, on the knee. In a few seconds the flow will be through Pingala.
4. Keep the two heels together near the right buttock. The right knee will be over the left knee. Keep the left palm on the ground a foot away and let the weight of the trunk rest on the left hand. Do not bend at the elbow. Turn the head also towards the left side. This is an effective method. Catch hold of the left ankle with the right hand.
5. The flow of breath can be changed by Nauli Kriya also.
6. There are some who are able to change the flow by will.
7. Place the Yoga Danda or Hamsa Danda (a wooden stick of about 2 feet in length with a rest of the shape of U at one end) at the left arm-pit and lean on it by the left side.
8. The most effective and instantaneous result is produced in changing the flow through Khechari Mudra. The Yogi turns the tongue inside and blocks the air passage by the tip of the tongue.
The above exercise is intended for general regulation of breath. Many other special exercises for the purification of Nadis and awakening Kundalini will be given in the subsequent chapters. A knowledge more secret than the science of breath, a friend more true than the science of breath, has never been seen or heard of. Friends are brought together by the power of breath. Wealth is obtained with comfort and reputation through the power of breath. The knowledge of the past, present and the future and all other Siddhis are acquired and a man reaches the highest state, by the power of breath.
|Copyright Spirituality World © 2007-2009. All Rights Reserved.|